Eating the Cherimoya (36)

I pick up the cherimoya from the counter and press it to my nose. I don’t smell anything, but it’s soft, ready to eat. I slice its reptile hide across the middle. It has a star pattern like kiwi, like Fuyu persimmons. I stand beside the kitchen sink and spoon the white fruit into my mouth. It is good, but I am not transported. The flesh is filled with seeds, big dark brown lumps I remove from my mouth, pile up on the cutting board. They are shiny and smooth, beautiful. They make a delicious sound when they knock against each other. I am more interested in playing with the seeds than in eating the fruit (saved, I think, from future extravagance). I move the pile of seeds to a small clear bowl and cover them with water. They make music against the glass. It is after midnight. I’ve just finished grading for the night, and I’m too tired to clean them now. I leave them soaking and wonder what I might do with them. I imagine them marked with color, coated with polymer to keep them shiny and wet. Maybe I’ll use them to count my laps at the pool. Or maybe I could make a set of tiny runes. I am sleepy but satisfied as I make my way to bed. My grading is done. I have a belly full of cherimoya. I fall asleep picturing the small dark seeds painted with symbols, bright orange lines against their rich brown shells.

Cherimoya (34)

cherimoya sitting on the Saturday section of the L.A.Times

I am holding a bag of lemons. Should I buy one bag or two? The farmer is describing the cherimoyas to another customer. “They’re creamy like a custard,” he says. “They taste like vanilla and coconut.” I remember seeing them in Mexico, but I can’t remember if I ever ate one. I like the odd cactus and reptile look of them. I read the sign—it says $6 per pound. My mind must balk because it plays tricks with that. My lemons are $5 for a bag of nine. I have already counted. I think, oh, the cherimoyas are really cheap. They must not be very popular in this country. My mind is thinking they are six for a dollar. I choose one that is not yet ripe, select five tangerines, pay, too, for my lemons. After, I find out the cherimoya cost $3.40. Now it is sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to ripen. I don’t know whether to hope I love it or hate it, though hating it would be easiest, I think. If I love it, I will have to buy more.